Shop Talk: Politics Is a Good Thing

Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:25pm

The Democratic National Committee now has its regional political team fully in place.

[IMGCAP(1)]• Northeast Political Director Jeremy Bernton is a veteran of the DNC’s political department, and he served as an intergovernmental liaison for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

• Midwest Political Director Molly Jurusik is the former executive director of the Delaware Democratic Party.

• Fellow Midwest Political Director Regena Thomas is a former appointed New Jersey secretary of State. Thomas will specialize in the industrial belt region.

• Southern Political Director Nate Jenkins was the deputy political director for Campaign for Change in Florida.

• Southwest Political Director Ed Espinoza most recently served as the Nevada director for America Votes.

• Western Political Director Kyle DeBeer is the former executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party.

The regional political team will be assisted by two deputies: Ed Yoon and Maya Goines.

Oh My, Ovide. Former New Hampshire GOP gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne has tapped two consultants to help him explore a bid for Senate in the Granite State.

Lamontagne announced that he has hired Charlie Spies as strategic counsel for his potential campaign. Spies was most recently chief financial officer and counsel for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) 2008 presidential campaign.

Lamontagne has also tapped Jim Merrill — his colleague at a New Hampshire law firm — to help him with his potential bid, according to a recent report in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Merrill, the managing director of Devine Strategies, ran Romney’s state operation in New Hampshire.

Not surprisingly, Lamontagne was also a Romney supporter in 2008.

If Lamontagne decides to run, he’ll face a primary with former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and possibly more Republican candidates. Senate Republicans recruited Ayotte to run for the seat, and she officially filed her candidacy this week.

Malcolm in the Middle. After 25 years, Ellen Malcolm is stepping down as founder and president of EMILY’s List, but she isn’t going far.

The group announced Wednesday that Malcolm will become chairwoman of EMILY’s List’s Board of Directors, a newly created position.

EMILY’s List was founded as an organization that backed female Democratic candidates who supported abortion rights.

“Next April we will celebrate EMILY’s List’s 25th anniversary,— Malcolm said. “It is the perfect time to have a new president to help lead us into the next 25 years.—

The group also announced that it is beginning the search for a new president to run its organization and has hired Arnie Miller of Miller and Co. to conduct the search.

Firing the Buchanan. California Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D), one of the leading candidates in the special election to replace former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), has put together a consulting team for the race. Most of the consultants she’s using now were used in her tough and expensive Assembly victory last fall.

Paul Maslin of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates is handling the campaign’s polling. Mary Hughes, a veteran of Tauscher’s campaigns and president of San Francisco-based Staton Hughes, is serving as general consultant. Dan Kully of Laguens Kully Klose Partners will do media work.

Chaiken It Up. Democratic polling firm the Mellman Group has promoted Meredith Chaiken to vice president.

A former political director in Colorado for Sen. John Kerry’s (Mass.) presidential campaign, Chaiken has specifically worked on developing the firm’s microtargeting, sampling and online research practices. She has worked with several Congressional clients, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.), as well as New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

She joins a management team that included President Mark Mellman, Executive Vice President Michael Bloomfield and Vice Presidents Kate Koester and Nathan Henry.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.